Oscar 2015: Best Foreign Language Film Oscar

The foreign-language film Oscar has introduced many significant international filmmakers to American audiences, but rarely has it alighted upon a wholly fresh talent.

In six decades of the category’s existence, only six first-time feature directors have won the Best Foreign Language Oscar Award. Germany’s Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck (The Lives of Others) is the most recent one, back in 2007.  Unfortunately, he followed up with a disappointing Hollywood debut, The Tourist, starring Johnny Depp and Angelia Jolie.

Other directors include, such as Baltasar Kormakur, who is in the awards run this year with Universal release “Everest,” and “Kon-Tiki” helmers Espen Sandberg and Joachim Ronning who are in post-production on Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.”

This year, 27 of the 81 foreign-language submissions (a significant one third) are from first-time directors, including some of the most heavily buzzed features.

Cannes Film Fest Impact

Hungary’s Laszlo Nemes stunned Cannes Fest critics and audiences with his visceral first-person Auschwitz Holocaust tale, Son of Saul, winning the fest’s Grand Jury Prize.

Also benefiting from the Cannes Fest acclaim is French-Turkish filmmaker Deniz Gamze Erguven, one of 14 women on the long list of 81 directors.  Her feminist fable Mustang beat out Cannes’ Palme d’Or winner, Dheepan, to be France’s submission for the Foreign Language Oscar.